Magdalena Tanev

In Latin America (LATAM), the mobile gaming market is primed for growth. While the standard rules for entering a new market apply — such as localizing marketing campaigns and adapting the app to the region’s languages — when taking into account some additional pointers, game developers can tap into a hugely promising market.

Smartphones are the preferred device for an overwhelming 70% of gamers in LATAM, and 58% of the region’s online population play mobile games, according to Newzoo. The games market in Brazil alone is expected to see $2.3 billion USD in 2021 — and the potential for mobile game growth across the rest of the region isn’t far behind.

LATAM is a unique region rich with cultural diversity and varied gaming habits. For mobile games developers looking to take a stake in the LATAM market, there are a few key things to take into consideration. 

Facilitate community building through social gaming features

Many countries in LATAM have strong cultures of community and social activity, and this comes through in the way people game. A majority (70%) of gamers in LATAM say that mobile gaming provides a safe environment for them — app developers must keep this in mind and ensure to create a space that promotes connection and community between gamers.

Achieving this shouldn’t be too hard because despite being made up of a number of culturally diverse and unique countries, the region is fairly homogeneous in terms of language, with just Spanish and Portuguese being spoken. This means gamers from Argentina or Chile can easily connect with others in Mexico or Colombia, and community building can take place across borders.

Many experts have emphasized the importance of gamer communities especially through the pandemic, as they provided a source of belonging in the midst isolation. Gaming gear brand HyperX LATAM’s business manager, Ariel Plabnik, said that “at the end of the day what gaming does is unite people, and thats the goal of HyperX, unite us a a gamer community.”

App developers looking to launch in LATAM should consider how in-game communication tools and interactive formats can generate connection between players. Strong communities also allow mobile games to monetize, improve UX, and ultimately increase player retention.

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Offer localized payments

Newzoo’s 2021 report found that almost half of mobile players in LATAM are eager to spend money on mobile games. Mobile is also the gaming segment where players spend the most — mobile game payers have grown by a CAGR of 4.9% from 2019 to 2021. 

Many gamers in LATAM are seeking localized payments. It’s important that mobile games looking to crack new markets take this into account and integrate with the most convenient mobile payment methods for a given country and charge in local currency.

Tap into the influencer boom

Influencers are big in LATAM — and that doesn’t stop at the gaming community. Just some of the biggest influencers in the region include Marco Túlio, who runs the YouTube channel AuthenticGames, which has over 16 million subscribers, Keffplay, a young Colombian streamer, whose charisma has gained him thousands of followed on Instagram and Twitch, or the comedic El Fedelobo, who is known for his YouTube sketches and telling gaming stories.

Mobile gaming apps should look into influencer campaigns to tap into the audiences of these big names and generate visibility, engagement, and excitement around their launch.

Prioritize long-term retention

While mobile game download levels are high in LATAM, many of these apps are facing retention issues. Only 12.7% of users keep a mobile gaming app on their phone three days after installation. Gaming apps entering the LATAM market must make sure that their objectives are focused not only around getting people to download the app — but keeping them around in the long-term.

Apps can improve retention by offering gamers an immersive experience and opportunities to compete and connect with others from the outset. App marketers might also conduct retargeting — where they target past users or those who haven’t used the app in a while with new and exciting in-app features that they won’t want to miss out on.

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Don’t miss out on ad revenue

In addition to monetization through in-app purchases, game developers in LATAM also need to dial down on the potential of ads. This Adsmovil study found that 66% of gamers in Colombia prefer to not spend money on in-app purchases, making ads a vital source of revenue.

What’s more, two-thirds of players report feeling happy while they’re gaming, which creates an ideal environment for relevant products to gain visibility amongst gamers. According to Alberto Pardo, CEO of Adsmovil, “the mood of users is a fundamental factor in advertising messages going down well.”

“Another favorable point for advertising in mobile games is that it offers brands a neutral environment,” he explained. Brands don’t have to think about the hard-hitting or controversial news topic their ad might appear alongside. Ads hold huge potential for revenue generation — mobile games apps should dial down on which ones are going to be most relevant for their user segments.

LATAM is a hot destination for mobile gaming apps, and with good reason. With a strategy that’s tailored toward the region’s unique needs, game developers will be able to make the most of the opportunities that LATAM’s rich and diverse population offers.